Darjeeling, March 18: Bimal Gurung today said he would camp in the Dooars and campaign door to door for the panchayat elections at a time many Gorkha Janmukti Morcha supporters in the plains have switched to Trinamul.
“I will immediately come to Dooars and will start a door-to-door campaign in the area. If needed, I will stay for a month in the area,” Gurung said.
Gurung today first held a meeting with Yuva Morcha members from the plains at Kumani, 110km from Darjeeling. Kumani, on the border of Jalpaiguri and Darjeeling districts, falls under GTA control.
After the meeting, Gurung addressed supporters from a dais, during which he spoke about the Dooars campaign.
The Morcha leader also made it clear that the hill-centric party would campaign in the plains largely on two issues — on Gorkhaland and the inclusion of 396 mouzas from the Dooars and Terai in the GTA.
“The Bengal government constituted a three-member fact verification committee when our relations with the Trinamul were good. I do not know what has happened to the committee now but it is clear that Mamata Banerjee is now hell bent on going after me, instead of other parties like the Congress and the CPM,” Gurung said.
The Morcha had demanded the inclusion of 396 mouzas from the Dooars and Terai in the GTA but the Justice Shyamal Sen committee recommended inclusion of only five mouzas. After the Morcha said it was unhappy with the report, the government formed the fact-verification committee.
“We will not sell our self-respect and will continue with our demand for Gorkhaland and the inclusion of the plains mouzas in the GTA,” Gurung said.
Taking a dig at former Morcha leaders who have joined Trinamul — over 200 workers and leaders over the past few weeks have switched sides — Gurung said: “Have they joined Trinamul hoping the cases registered against them during the agitation will be withdrawn?”
He added: “Padam Lama (former Morcha president in the Dooars who has moved to Trinamul) should know what has happened to Nepali-speaking people of Bhutan. They have been chased out of that place and are now languishing in Mechi (Nepal).”
One of the reasons the Morcha cited for its Gorkhaland demand was to ensure that the Nepali-speaking people from India are not considered foreigners.
Samuel Gurung, Morcha leader and an executive member of the GTA Sabha, said: “It is important to win the panchayat elections both for the Gorkhaland demand and also for the inclusion of mouzas in the GTA as one needs to be in power and also financially strong.”